Three people are tragically dead following a serious crash on Southbound Highway 99, according to state authorities. The California Highway Patrol has confirmed the fatal car accident killed three women, two of whom were senior citizens. The driver believed responsible for the crash is suspected of drunk driving, and has since been criminally charged in connection with this case.

According to the police report, around 7:30 p.m. a 23-year-old woman entered the highway going the wrong direction. Police believe she had been drinking prior to getting behind the wheel, which may explain why she made what turned out to be a fatal error. As a result, her vehicle collided head-on with a second vehicle going the other direction.

The force of the impact killed a 77-year-old, her 75-year-old sister and a 45-year-old woman also believed to be related to the first two. The driver was allegedly impaired when emergency workers took her to the hospital, with officers on the scene saying she could not articulate how or why she entered the freeway going the wrong direction. She was arrested and arraigned upon her release from the hospital.

Any fatal car accident is tragic, but a drunk-driving accident is always even more so because it is preventable. The driver accused of drunk driving will likely face additional charges for her role in the death of three people, but even if no criminal conviction is won, California law will allow wrongful death lawsuits to be filed against the driver on behalf of all three deceased women. Such a claim is handled in civil court, but often makes use of evidence gathered during the criminal investigation.